Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Fun at an FMCA Chapter Rally

In July Jerry and I were in Indianapolis at the FMCA National Rally where we met a lovely couple from North Carolina. Since they were parked right behind us we ran into them frequently which led to evening visits and an enjoyable way to wind down after our busy days. They shared their involvement with one of the North Carolina chapters, the Carolina Guroos. After we got home we got an e-mail from the chapter president asking us if we were interested in joining and or attending a rally. We immediately decided to join and to attend the October rally in Waynesville, NC.

We arrived on Wednesday at Creekwood Campground and after setting up began to immediately meet members of the Carolina Guroos. After a short afternoon of visiting seven of us went out to eat at Maggie’s Galley. I had rainbow trout which was delicious but of course Jerry had to try something a bit different. He had gator tail. He thought it would be a large piece of gator but instead it resembled the gator bites we’d had several years ago. Actually it looked like fried oysters to me but he said they were good.

Thursday was another afternoon of visiting with everyone trying to escape the warm sun and sit in the shade. Jerry finally got out our NC State tent and we spent the afternoon there. People came and went bringing chairs and sometimes beverages with them. It was a great afternoon.

Thursday evening we all gathered at the meeting room for barbecue and then games. Our game that night was Left, Right and Center. It was a fun game.

Friday morning we made our one trip out of the campground to go to the grocery store. Jerry had heard from one of the other members about a wood distributor close to the campground. That definitely peaked his interest so after the grocery store run we headed to Oak Unlimited. Jerry went in to talk with the owner to see what they had available for sale. They had ends for $2.00 a piece so Jerry decided to get five. When the fellow asked Jerry what kind of wood work he did Jerry brought him out to the car to see the walking sticks we had been lugging around. The fellow asked if Jerry sold them and if so for how much. When Jerry responded $20 the guy’s response was “take 10 pieces of wood and give me a walking stick and we’ll call it even”. Needless to say that put a big smile on Jerry’s face.

Another afternoon of visiting and then everyone went out to eat at Rendevous Restaurant. Because it was leaf peeping season it was difficult to find a restaurant that would take a reservation for 20 people so our choices were limited.

A nice view for the afternoon or for an evening campfire
After we returned to the campground we joined the couple across from us at their campfire. Several couples sat out by the creekside in the cold (cold enough for me to have a blanket) and listened to jokes and I’m quite sure a few “fish stories”. Every RVer has an interesting anecdote or experience to share. Around the campfire in the flickering light most are funny but some have a lesson behind them. For example, don’t go through a yellow caution light when towing your car behind your RV. The car will go through on the red light and yes, the camera will get a picture. Upon returning home you mayfind a ticket waiting in your mailbox! True story.

Saturday afternoon a couple of the guys were carving pumpkins for the pumpkin contest later in the evening. The ladies all joined to watch our president show us how to tie dye a small pumpkin with nail polish. That was very simple with a lovely outcome. Definitely something to try with the grands! Update: I tried it the next week with the grands – colossal fail!

Instead of going out to dinner Saturday night we all gathered in the meeting room for pizza and salad. After that we played Five Seconds. Dividing up into teams of two, men against women we were asked a question that had 3 answers and 5 seconds to answer. There was so much laughter that at times it was difficult to even hear the answers!

Saturday evening concluded with another campfire. It was a little warmer so no blanket was necessary.

The rally concluded Sunday morning with biscuits from Bojangles and a devotion by Sandy who along with her husband Rick was the wagon master for the week-end. They did a great job, one usually done by two couples and set the bar high for the next week-end rally. The Christmas party will be lunch in Clemmons in December and then Florida in February. We are planning to attend the lunch in Clemmons but will have to see if Florida works in our plans.

Carolina Guroos Week-end
After a fun filled week-end with great people I can truthfully say joining Carolina Guroos was one of our better decisions. I have often described us as “travelers” rather than “campers” but this week-end we were campers! Traveling and touring as we do means we often leave the campground early in the morning and return late in the afternoon collapsing from fatigue. That doesn’t give much time to enjoy the camaraderie of the other travelers/campers in the campground so this was an even more special time. The only time we left the campground was to go to the grocery store and a short stop at Oak Unlimited. Otherwise we slept in, had lazy mornings and evening campfires, played fun games filled with laughter with new friends and did a lot of visiting. Can’t wait to get together again! Now on our way to Williamsburg for the Newmar Kountry Klub Region 5 Rally!

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Home Away From Home, North Carolina

On to Waynesville

The RVing folks are a very congenial group of people united by a common interest of traveling with a home on wheels. There are however a few topics that always instigate some lively discussions. Whether to tow four down or to tow using a dolly almost always initiates interesting discussion. Since we’ve done both we, like many others, have a pretty definite opinion however I will add this caveat: whether you tow four down or dolly tow, have a Class A, B or C or a fifth wheel or tag along, the decision you make is the one that works for you. There is no one answer for everyone and that is something most RVers can agree on.

As I have shared before, we recognize that for us leaving on a trip is so much easier now that we tow four down. No more crawling on the ground no matter the weather conditions for Jerry. After I correctly align the car behind the RV Jerry hooks it up and it only takes a few minutes. My job is to put the jeep in active drive transfer so it can be towed. Because we haven’t traveled with the toad since July I’m a little rusty at the procedure but since I faithfully follow our written instructions each time step by step hopefully it’s right. Before we pull out with the RV we also have a check list that we go over every time. Most of the time we’ve completed every pre-travel task but once in a while something will be left undone. Last time I had forgotten to lock the refrigerator but luckily was reminded when we went over the check list. Believe me, no one wants the doors to the fridge to open when going around a sharp curve. Been there, done that and nearly everything came out on the floor including me as I was trying to get everything back in the fridge while riding down a busy street – what a mess! With the check list procedure for the tow car and the checklist for the RV we generally pull out secure that we have done all we can do to ensure a safe trip.

Today we traveled 40 west out of Clemmons heading to Waynesville and it was an uneventful ride (which we love). As always there was some road construction but it didn’t slow us down much. When I started looking for a gas station I of course went to the Garmin and there was not one Flying J listed on our route. We like the Flying J’s because they have a dedicated RV lane. We decided to settle for Love’s. They are often more expensive but have easy access. While riding along though I saw a sign for a Pilot so we went for that. It did not show up on Garmin but did on the iExit app. It was on a two lane road, very busy with big semi’s and just a lot of traffic but alas – no rv lane and a very slow pump! We spent 25 minutes refueling and then began the interesting task of navigating away from the pump and around the station. I drove while Jerry stood outside navigating. One guy even offered to stop traffic for us. It’s always nice to run in to people willing to help. We made it and back on the road to Waynesville. Then we had to conquer Black Mountain. Again, we made it!

Asheville was not as busy as we had thought so we motored on to Waynesville to Creekwood RV Park. We missed the entrance initially perhaps because I was looking for Creekside. Don’t know where my mind was! All in all it was a nice ride but no pretty scenery on the way. Due to the dry fall the beautiful fall colors haven’t made it to western NC this year.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Frustration, Praise and Thankfulness!

Almost four years of RVing and we still feel like Newbies! We seem to learn something new on every trip, sometimes something really big and sometimes just a process that makes things easier. Despite the absolute fun and convenience of traveling on wheels occasionally we have a bit of frustration. Things break or wear out just like they do in our sticks and brick home, thus my post today.

On our way to the FMCA Rally in Indianapolis in July we realized that our assistive braking system on the car was not working so while at the rally we talked with a representative from the company. We discovered that the system had been installed incorrectly. Campers Inn had never installed one before so they were learning and we could understand that. The plan was to contact them as soon as we got home to resolve the issue.

On to Nappanee, Indiana, home of Newmar to have some work done on our Newmar Canyon Star. In addition to some other smaller issues the rollers on the slide had damaged some of the tiles. We asked about getting them replaced but the cost was prohibitive (ah, say exorbitant to us) so we elected to buy a box of tiles and have it done at home. Perhaps that was our first mistake.

When we got home (in early August) we took the coach to Campers Inn in Selma/Smithfield, NC where we had the brake assistive system installed. They had agreed to put down the new tiles in the coach at half the cost plus ascertain the problem with the braking system. They immediately got to work on the tiles. They removed the damaged tiles, opened the box we had purchased from Newmar only to discover that we had the wrong tiles. What? We could see the tiles through the cellophane on the box and they looked like the correct tiles. They were the right color but the distributor had changed the grout line making it impossible to correctly align the them. Of course we called Newmar and learned that the distributer had discontinued those tiles – what? We’ve got bare places on our floor, down to the OSB and no available tiles. What to do? Then began the process of Newmar trying to find some tiles. We held off on taking the car to Campers Inn while we were waiting to receive the tiles so we could get it all done at the same time. Second mistake.

We had planned to take the RV on a short trip to Raleigh, NC in September for a horse show but of course that was not possible as it was still at Campers Inn waiting for some tiles. One canceled trip.

Finally after several weeks of waiting, phone calls to Newmar, frustration, etc. on September 7 I sent an e-mail to Newmar Customer Service and we finally found out that the guy handling our tile problem was out due to a family emergency (actually two emergencies) – understandable but then we had to start explaining all over again. Finally around the first of October I sent an e-mail to Customer Service stating my dissatisfaction with Newmar and the tile problem. Then began a series of e-mails with Derek who was trying to catch up and do what he could. Thank you Derek.

The next step was receiving an e-mail from Ivy in Customer Service apologizing for “this whole ordeal” and telling us that the tiles shipped out that day. After several disappointing days of waiting anxiously for the UPS truck arrived we called Customer Service once again. You won’t believe what we found out. The box of tiles (I use that description lightly) in its journey arrived in Greensboro, NC empty – torn and nothing inside. Excuse me, but did no one notice that tiles were falling out of the box? They contacted Newmar who contacted us. Only three boxes of the tile had been located and one of them was gone forever.

Back to the emails again. The parts man who had originally helped us e-mailed us and told us that they had found some more tiles and would be sending them to us. Since it was Friday and we were scheduled to leave for a FMCA chapter rally and then a Kountry Klub (Newmar) Region 5 rally on Tuesday I asked if they could be overnighted. He replied that they were being sent by the distributor but Newmar had OKed them to be sent if the distributor would do that. Shortly afterward we got another e-mail saying that they had found some tiles at Newmar and they were being sent out that day. Thank you.

Jerry contacted Campers Inn and an appointment was made to take the car in on Monday at 8:00 for the brake repair and to pick up the RV. Guess we’ll be traveling with no tiles on the majority of the living area of the RV because it is doubtful that the tiles will arrive by Monday morning. I have always taken the sheets off of the bed, washed them immediately upon arriving home and then put them back in the coach. Did I do that the last time? Of course not because we were dealing with the house issue plus we had taken a lot out of the coach to use at home because everything in the house was packed up for the move that didn’t happen. On to the story, we decided on Friday to go to Smithfield, get the sheets and determine what we had left in the RV in July. Off to Smithfield we went (an hour away) and guess what we found. Someone had left the battery disconnect on with perhaps a light on so the battery was dead meaning that we had no steps, no light and no way to put the slides out to get the sheets. Discouragement reared its ugly head.

We finally pulled the sheets off, literally climbing in and out of the RV and headed home. Brake assist not fixed, no tiles and a dead battery but you know what? These are just little blips along the way of life. There are so many people that have real problems and ours are just inconveniences. Yes, I have been discouraged at times. 2017 has not been kind to us in many ways but God has not been surprised by any of this. He is still in charge! Praise God!

Update – Monday, October 16: Jerry got up early and was at Campers Inn before they even opened. They quickly got to work on the car and Jerry, the RV (finally) and the car were home by lunch. Guess what was in the garage waiting for him when he arrived? You guessed it – a big box of tiles! Obviously Newmar didn’t want a repeat of lost tiles so they had packaged them in a huge box. Jerry immediately called Campers Inn and they said to be there by 8:00 on Tuesday morning and they would put the tiles down.

We spent the rest of Monday getting ready to leave and by 7:00 on Tuesday morning Jerry was on the way. I followed in the car about an hour later. The tiles were replaced quickly but they suggested that we wait for at least two hours before picking the coach up giving the tiles time to set. No problem as we were not in a hurry. We walked around Carolina Pottery, the local outlet mall, got some buffet lunch at Pizza Inn and pulled out of Campers Inn a bit after 1:00. The floor looked great! They had asked us not to use the slides for 24 hours but other than that all was good – finally!

After a couple of stops along the way we pulled into Tanglewood Park around 6:00. We have stayed at Tanglewood a number of times in the past and although there are some unlevel sites we usually have no problem getting level. When I had called to make the reservation I was given a choice of what site to choose and thinking #10 was on one of the first rows I chose that. #10 is in the corner and most unlevel. We finally had to put the jacks down manually but we got it good enough for the night. Setup was quick and easy since we were not pulling out the front slides. We were able to open both slides in the bedroom and that gave us plenty of room for the night. We were having dinner with David and Jane so not pulling out the front kitchen slide did not cause any inconvenience.

It felt so good to be back in the coach with everything in its place. Looking forward to a good fall of camping! It got pretty cold that night but we were snug and warm inside our little home on wheels. Ah….

Kudos to Newmar and Campers Inn for their persistence in helping get our tiles replaced. Circumstances beyond their control contributed to a long delay but eventually all was resolved. Needless to say we’re on a first name basis with both companies!

Home, Home Away From Home, North Carolina

In Limbo at Neuseway Park, Kinston, NC


Up and about early today as our “touring” trip was ending and we were headed to Fletcher, North Carolina for the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show, an annual event that we always try to make. We spent several days and nights there at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center located just outside of Fletcher. It’s a little pricey for what you get – full hook-up and close access to everything horsey but no internet, no cable, no pool, no amenities and it is $45 a night.

Saturday morning we left for a short overnight visit with David and his family in Clemmons. Of course we stayed at Tanglewood. Every time we have stayed at Tanglewood I have asked for the pull-through but it’s always been taken. When I called to make a reservation for Saturday night I was told that she had two sites, #10 and #14. I couldn’t remember where they were so I just selected #14. Wouldn’t you know it was the pull-through, the one time we really didn’t need it? It was nice though! I’ll remember Site 14 for future reference.

We knew our house was in disarray due to the construction on the sun porch so we just decided to go on to Kinston but instead of going home we went to Neuseway Park, a nice quiet park on the edge of town and it’s only $15 a night. When we got there the office was closed and would reopen on Tuesday so we just pulled in and found a spot. When I did get there to pay they told me that they were often paid on the honor system as they have a deposit box for checks or cash. They do not take credit cards. Our site is right on the Neuse River, a nice spot to sit outside and relax. It’s a little strange to be camping in our home town but it has been convenient to be able to run over to the house when we needed to. I will be glad though to get settled somewhere!

We are still in limbo about the sale of the house as the lady who is supposed to be buying it may be changing her mind. Since her realtor is out of town we have no answers at this point but Jerry and I have had a real peace about it and we attribute that to the Lord. If the house sells we are 80% packed and ready to move. If she doesn’t we’ll gradually unpack and reclaim our home. At least we have cleaned out the attic and we’ve generously donated many things (including furniture) to either the Salvation Army or the SPCA. Whatever happens we know we belong to the Lord, that he has not been surprised at any of the events and we want His will to be done in our lives.

Update: The house did not sell as the lady backed out the day before closing! We are still in our home and still gradually unpacking.

Home, North Carolina, Tennessee

Goodbye Chattanooga

All good things must come to an end so on Saturday morning we were up and out of the campground headed for Clemmons. It was an uneventful trip back with good weather and light traffic. Emma has been really good about staying belted in during the trip to and from Chattanooga. Being in a Class A motor home gives one the advantage of getting up and moving around but that is pretty much a no-no for us. I get up occasionally to get Jerry a snack or something to drink but for the most part we are belted in.

We were staying at Tanglewood Campground in Clemmons again. I guess we really should apply to be workampers there since we are there so often! I thought Emma would want her parents to meet us at the campground but no, she wanted us to go to her home and surprise them so after we got set up we headed out again. No one can ever accuse us of letting grass grow under our feet!

Needless to say everyone was happy to be reunited and we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon outside with all of the family. After a quick dinner out Jerry and I headed back to Tanglewood for the night and then Sunday morning we headed home to Kinston. It was a grand trip, such the right length of time but as always the best part is coming home.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

An Uneventful Trip to Clemmons!

Saturday, June 10 we headed out for Clemmons and Tanglewood Park. Since we knew that Jane and Emma would be involved in dance recital rehearsal we took our time leaving. Fortunately, this trip was very uneventful unlike our previous trip on Easter week-end! We arrived and got set up fairly quickly. The campground is filled with lots of campers on this pretty week-end but we didn’t have time to visit as we headed out to David and Jane’s as soon as we were set up. It’s so nice to be able to stay at a nice park and be close to their home as well. When Tanglewood was closed for the winter we stayed at Greystone RV Park in Pinnacle, also a nice campground but it’s a good 30 minute or more drive to their house with heavy traffic all of the way so Tanglewood is our campground of choice.

In addition to the campground Tanglewood has many other facilities that the campers can use free of charge. There is a nice dog park plus a vegetable/flower market on some Saturday mornings. There are a couple of pools, a lake for pedal boats (that’s not as easy as it looks), horse stables, playgrounds, lots of hiking trails and good places for bike rides as well. One of the highlights of the year is the Festival of Lights beginning the end of November and going through December. The entire park is transformed into a winter wonderland of giant, twinkling snowflakes and whimsical scenes! An event that began in 1992 has now become an annual tradition for many with an average of 250,000 visitors each year. There are now over a million individual lights and with the recent update all of them are LED. The campground is only open during the first few days of the Festival so always check before arriving.

Emma after her recital
We had a nice week-end visiting with the children and the grands plus seeing Emma perform in her dance recital. After dinner on Sunday evening we returned to Tanglewood fairly early knowing Monday would be a long day.

North Carolina

Travelers or Campers?

We have always said that we are travelers instead of campers because when we’re on a trip we’re always on the go. We actually spend very little time in the campgrounds because we usually touring the area seeing as much as we can see in the allotted time. At this point in our travels we probably won’t be revisiting any areas as there are so many new things to see so we see all we can while we can. Thus, we are travelers, not campers.

However, that being said, this week-end we were campers! We not only never left the campground we never even unhooked the car from the motor home. There were actually two reasons for that. One, we had no reason to unhook as we were not going anywhere and two, Jerry said since we didn’t need the car he’d rather unhook at home where no one was going to be looking at us. We didn’t know at that time how easily it would be done.

Friday we just sat around outside reading and visiting with other campers until our appointment. Our meeting and lunch (think barbeque sandwich) was at 2:30 and Greg promptly picked us up in a golf cart. He took us on a tour of the entire campground all while giving us a lot of information. It really appears to be a nice campground with a lot of amenities, a good place for a staycation. After the tour we went over to the office to talk about the different programs and costs. The plan that seemed to fit us was joining the Coast to Coast program and we considered it. They gave us a listing of the Coast to Coast properties and after perusing that we didn’t see any in the places we had already visited nor places on our short bucket list. Because of that we opted to not join but quite frankly I think it is a pretty good deal IF it fits your lifestyle and travel style. Sycamore Lodge is too far from home for us to take a week-end trip there and with no other nearby campgrounds it just wasn’t for us.

After our tour we returned to the motor home and continued to enjoy being outside. One of the neighbors came over and we had a nice visit. I think I could enjoy just camping some week-ends if I could talk Jerry into it!

I really would like to have stayed another night as it seems you need three nights in a campground to get to know folks. I don’t know if they would have allowed us to stay another night plus when Jerry gets ready to go home, he’s ready so off we went Saturday morning about 10:30. We went a different route using more four lanes. It took us nearly four hours but was still better than the country roads we had been on earlier.

After arriving home we immediately started washing sheets and towels already getting ready for our next trip. We’ll leave next Saturday, June 10 for a couple of nights at Tanglewood in Clemmons. On Sunday we’ll go to Emma’s dance recital and then on Monday the three of us will be leaving for Chattanooga for a few days. Hope Emma enjoys the trip as much as we did when we were there a couple of years ago.

North Carolina

On to Sycamore Lodge

We are finally getting back on the road and doing a little bit of traveling and it feels good! We must have been excited about it because neither of us slept well last night. I had hoped to leave by 7:00 and Jerry had said 8:00 and it was actually 7:46 when we pulled out of the driveway. At the end of the street Jerry put the coach in park and we had a moment of prayer asking for safe travel today. I’ll admit I’m a little skittish after our last “trip” but I know God has us in His hands.

Jerry knew that we needed to add some air to the tires and the small air compressor that he has at home just would not do the job so his plan was to stop by Mallard’s on the way out of town where there is an air compressor. At the last minute he decided to go to Universal Tire to let the professionals do it. Good choice I think. He had put the new sensors on the tires yesterday and was eager to make sure everything was working correctly. By the way, the TPMS system that we were using was from TechnoRV and when we contacted Eric about the system’s failure to alert us to a problem he quickly sent us a new set. Campers Inn and TechnoRV have been very supportive throughout the entire ordeal and I highly recommend them for products and service.

Wish I could say the same about Acme Tow Dolly located in Kearnsville, NC. We have called, e-mailed and even stopped by the business but have been unable to reach the owner. He did return one call but Jerry missed it and when Jerry tried to return the call leaving yet another message there was no response. The accident occurred April 15. It is now June 1 so we’ve been trying to speak with the owner nearly six weeks. According to the firemen the brake bearing on the tow dolly locked up causing the fire. The tow dolly was sold to us with a 5 year maintenance free guarantee. Guess you can offer that if you don’t plan to respond to an incident. I really hate that because I do want to support local businesses whether it be our city or our state but I surely don’t recommend Acme Tow Dolly to anyone. I do intend to alert the Better Business Bureau but other than that I guess we have no recourse other than to warn others.

We finally pulled out of the tire shop at 8:14 for a 100+ mile drive to Jackson Springs. We were not exactly sure where it is so the ride should be interesting. We were told to follow our GPS and that’s what we’re doing!

Have you ever heard the phrase “you can’t get there from here?” Well that may apply to Sycamore Lodge! We had two GPS’s plus MapQuest and so of course we got three different routes to take. Sycamore Lodge is located in Jackson Springs which I “think” is in the Pinehurst/Southern Pines area but I’m not sure! Although many RVer’s suggest taking the back roads we always stick to the four lane highways. At forty feet plus a toad we feel safer and less likely to get into a sticky situation if we continue on main highways. Unfortunately for this trip nearly half of it was on two lane country roads going through several small towns. Even at a slower speed it’s difficult to keep the coach in our lane on some of the curves. Jerry commented that only I would be able to enjoy any of the scenery because he had to keep his eyes on the road. Oh no, I don’t enjoy the scenery because in cases like this I’ve found it better just to keep looking down!

We arrived around 11:30, a little over three hours from when we departed. As we were driving in on nicely paved roads Jerrys’ comment was “great place to ride bikes”. More about that later. Registration was quick and we were told that we were scheduled for lunch and to meet with a representative on Friday at 2:30. Guess we’ll be having “lupper”!

Since we were free for the rest of the day we set up, had lunch and then decided on a bike ride. That was not one of my brightest ideas! Yes, there are paved roads but they are right in the center of the campground. Otherwise there are graveled, sandy roads – and deep sand at that. We rode two miles and I must say that is the hardest two miles I’ve ever ridden. It was hot and humid and in places the sand was so deep we had to get off and push the bikes through. Oh, it was about 1:00 in the afternoon too.

The campground itself seems to be very nice with a lot of amenities (not cable) but is in the middle of nowhere! I used the GPS to search for places to visit and there’s just nothing nearby. The closest Walmart is 14 miles away! The campground does have a nice pool and hot tub, a pretty lake for catch and release along with a pedal boat and some canoes on shore for use, horseshoes, volleyball, and some other outdoor activities. My favorite was the small putt-putt course.

We had a lazy afternoon which I guess we both needed after the previous busy days, weeks and months that we’ve had so it was sort of nice. Wouldn’t want too many of these days though! Perhaps tomorrow before the appointment we’ll have to take in the pool. It’s really too hot to do too much outside.

After dinner Jerry and I took a walk. We eventually ended up at the lake and just sat and chatted while we enjoyed the view. Since no one else was around it was so quiet and peaceful and restorative. It was a nice way to spend our 27th anniversary, nothing special, just the two of us appreciating the years we’ve had. On the way back to the motor home we played a game of putt-putt. I haven’t improved at all in the years since I last played but it was fun.

Needless to say it was an early night for us. Jerry turned the air condition down to 65 degrees and we slept snug as bugs in a rug!

North Carolina

Getting Ready To Roll Again!

I wish I would/could keep a chronology of my trip planning as I think it would be interesting at least to me to see the progression and changes to our routes and plans. I “knew” we were going to Texas in January and Arizona in March but had made absolutely no plans and it was December! Oh my –when do I get busy on this? With the holidays we stay pretty busy and this year was even more so. Jerry decided that he wanted to build the boys corn hole boards for Christmas and that could only be done at our river house so we made A LOT of trips down there. Our week-ends were filled with a trip to Charlotte for a Panthers game and a trip to Clemmons for our newest granddaughter’s christening so our weeks were busy going back and forth to Pamlico Beach. We had the absolutely prettiest Christmas tree this year that we’ve ever had but we had little time to enjoy it. We were the last to decorate in our neighborhood and the first to take everything down. I guess we look like a couple of Scrooges. To top it off we decided we wanted some flickering candle lights in our windows so we bought some at the Pottery. Oh yeah – they flickered but they were orange and looked like Halloween. Jerry liked them so … I quickly turned them off each night and when we took the decorations down I threw them away!

Back to planning. I picked the major places that we wanted to visit – San Antonio, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns (I know it’s in New Mexico) and Amarillo and then went to work on a route. With Jerry in the workshop working on the corn hole boards I had plenty of time to sit at the computer and research. Our route was going to take us close to Abbeville, La so I knew a couple of days at Betty’s RV Park would be in the plans. We were there last year for a week and met some delightful people, some that we will be seeing this time. I added Galveston to the route. As I kept adding up the time spent in each location I finally realized that I had to cut some things out and Galveston was the first to go. From what I’ve read it looks like it’s a real beach town and although I’m sure there are a lot of interesting thing to do there Jerry and I live part-time on a river and we’re only a little over an hour from the Atlantic Ocean so the beachy towns don’t have a lot to draw us.

San Antonio was next on the route. I went a few years ago when attending a conference and I knew that despite our reluctance to visit large cities that Jerry would enjoy San Antonio. I continued to research. Our original plan was to go to Chandler, Arizona in March for the FMCA International Rally. In talking with an RVing friend he suggested that we tour what we had planned in Texas, leave the coach somewhere, fly home to NC for a few weeks, fly back, pick up the coach and go on to Arizona. It would be much less wear and tear on the coach and our bodies. That made sense so I started looking into that plan searching for places to leave the coach and investigating plane fares. It really was beginning to make a lot of sense until I started considering where we would be traveling after the FMCA rally. We both really want to visit Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and some other places in Utah. I quickly realized that we didn’t have enough time to attend the rally, visit places on our Bucket List and be home in time for a March 25 birthday so back to Plan A. Instead we would extend our trip in Texas just a couple of days perhaps taking in Austin and then take our Utah trip after the March 25 birthday. Oh yes, I totally forgot about the April 17 birthday but that’s another story!

I had completed our route and now was time to start looking for campgrounds. We knew that it would take us two hard driving days to get to Abbeville and we would be “camping” at a Walmart for one night. I began to look at RVPark Reviews, Passport and Good Sam’s for park reviews. As I have said earlier we have just started our “boondocking” but I found some Texas state parks that looked interesting so I decided to bite the bullet and made reservations at two parks. I’ll let you know how that works out. I was also lucky to find a Passport park near San Antonio that honors Passport every night. Some only do it for one night or on week nights so each one is different.

I finally got our route established, our sites reserved, our deposits mailed in (yes, some only take checks or cash) and now to get the coach ready.

When are we leaving? Well, that is TBD. IF we can we hope to leave in the afternoon of January 2. We’re keeping three of the grands for the weekend and we both have appointments in the morning of January 2. Guess it depends on how tired we are after a weekend with precious children. If we can’t make it on Monday, we’ll leave bright and early Tuesday morning and drive as far as we can. I put an extra “rest” day in Abbeville before heading to Texas just in case…

Stay tuned!

(BTW – we left Monday afternoon!)

North Carolina, Virginia

Flexibility

Flexibility – some say that’s what RVing is all about and it surely has worked for us this time. Our original plans were to leave October 10th for our Virginia/Pennsylvania trip but Hurricane Matthew changed that plan. In all honesty we probably could have gotten out of Kinston but we just didn’t feel that it was a wise decision. As many have heard Kinston, NC was devastated by flooding waters and though “the storm” was over by the 9th the rising waters were just beginning. With Mom in a retirement center in Greenville and the threat of evacuation for her plus not knowing what was going to happen in Kinston we elected to stay home. We did go out to the warehouse on the 9th and get the motor home. The warehouse is in the flood zone and we were afraid it might flood. We also knew that even if the warehouse itself didn’t flood that there would be water all around it and we would be unable to get to it. Unfortunately we’ve seen it before so we knew what to expect. So, the RV stayed in our driveway for a week. We did use it one day due to power outage. Fortunately we live on the north side of Kinston and were not in any danger from the flood.

We were planning to go to the State Fair horse the next week and after a lot of talking pros and cons we decided to add part of our planned trip on after the horse show rather than before. We left on Tuesday, October 18 for Raleigh for the show and stayed until Sunday. During that time we discussed where we would go knowing we had to be back in Raleigh by October 29 for the State-Boston College football game. Yes, it does seem our fall travels revolve around football games and horse shows! We finally decided to go to Louisa, Virginia where we would spend two nights at the Small Country Campground and visit Montpelier, James Madison’s home. The rest of the trip was up in the air at that point but included going to the Shenandoah Valley and the Skyline Parkway.

We finally got away from the horse show grounds on Sunday around 10:00, stopped at Alamance Crossing to meet David (we had grandson Eli for the week-end) and then headed on to Louisa. On the way it dawned on me that I should probably check the hours for Montpelier. That little tickle in my mind was right – they are closed on Mondays. Oh well. We decided that we would add a night to our Louisa stay and go visit Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home on Monday. It is about a 2 hour drive but Jerry was up for it so the plans changed.

As we neared the campground our two GPS’s of course gave two different routes. Jerry took his instead of mine and we ended up on Brickhouse Road, a narrow, two lane, winding road and we were hoping we wouldn’t meet anyone. We did but fortunately got by without incidence! We should have taken my route this time.

The campground despite its name is not small. In fact there are several sections. Unfortunately for some reason we were not put in with the transients so thus far haven’t gotten to meet anyone. After we got set up we took a walk around the park. We debated riding our bikes – wow, glad we didn’t as it’s a mite hilly!

I had put ribs in the crockpot when we stopped for lunch and they were smelling really good so I cooked some sides and we had a pretty good dinner for a change. It was an early night and by 8:00 we were both fighting sleep. The horse shows are always fun but tiring so a good night’s sleep was in order. By the way we didn’t succumb to our 8:00 drowsiness and I made it all the way to 10:00! I left my window open and the room was cool, perfect for sleeping.